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Labour politician says she'd like to see more people cycling... but she has a funny way of encouraging them...

Labour MP Kate Hoey says she would like to see more people cycling and supports segregated bike lanes – but she also says that bicycles should be registered and that riders should pay road tax and carry insurance.

The MP for Vauxhall, in the news last month after being fined £240 after being caught driving her Mini through a red traffic light, was speaking to Peter Walker of the Guardian's Bike Blog.

The fine imposed on Hoey provoked widespread derision not to mention schadenfreude among cyclists, whom she had branded in a 2003 Daily Mail article as  “law-breaking Lycra louts.”

Hoey told Walker that with the benefit of hindsight, that article had appeared more extreme than she’d intended, and revealed that she backed Mayor of London Boris Johnson’s intention to introduce more cycle lanes in the capital – although it could be argued that her prime motivation for that appears to be to clear the roads for cars.

“I would love to see cycling separated, because I think it would help everybody,” she explained. “If it means more people cycling, great, especially if it makes it easier for me on the road. You're never going to get it everywhere, but it's going to have to happen because there's so many more people cycling.”

“But,” she added, “if we're going to do that don't you think they should have to pay something, as a road tax? Why should I pay a hundred and whatever pounds for my little Mini and they don't?”

Walker explained to her the difference between “road tax,” abolished in the 1930s, and Vehicle Excise Duty, and said she did subsequently email him to say: “By the way I do know that VED is based on size etc of car but the principle is that surely everyone using the road should be licenced and insured.”

Hoey, elected to Parliament in the safe Labour seat of Vauxhall in 1989, also called for bicycles to be fitted with number plates, saying: “What I do genuinely think, and the cycling lobby should argue for it too, is that everyone who rides a bicycle, particularly as a form of transport to work, should be registered, so their bike has a registration number.

“At the moment if someone does knock down an old lady and ride off no one can trace that person.”

While perceived cyclist and pedestrian conflict is a regular hobby-horse for some national and local media outlets and an issue often raised with the police by local residents, thankfully reported injuries are relatively rare.

Last year, according to the Department for Transport’s Reported Road Casualties Great Britain Annual Report 2012, there were 389 reported incidents in which a pedestrian was injured in a collision with a bicycle, of which 97 were serious and two fatal.

By comparison, 212 pedestrians were killed and 3,907 seriously injured following collisions with private cars alone.

As for registration, opponents point out that the bureaucracy – and presumably expense – involved would make such a scheme unworkable and deter people from cycling.

Hoey acknowledged, “I can see why cyclists feel they have to stand up against people,” adding, “but I never see cyclists criticising themselves. Cyclists don't seem to see to do anything about.”

It’s unclear whether Hoey is advocating some form of self-policing, but certainly cycling organisations such as CTC reinforce that cyclists must obey applicable laws, and a road.cc poll in February 2010 found that among site users, it was law-breaking that annoyed them most about other riders’ behaviour.

Walker pointed out to Hoey that speeding or driving through red lights – as she herself did – was common among motorists, and that the potential consequences were much more serious than in the case of a bicycle.

She countered his argument, saying: “But that is a sort of cop out, isn' it? It's like me saying, I'm only driving this little old Mini, why can't just slip through a light as well if there's nothing coming?”

Towards the end of his article, Walker gives his impression of the MP, reflecting that “I don’t think Hoey has any genuine malice towards cyclists, and in many ways she means well. But she has, to my mind, some curious notions” – not least, given she represents a constituency with low levels of car ownership and higher than average levels of cycling, she should be advocating measures that might deter the latter.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

95 comments

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jason.timothy.jones [294 posts] 3 years ago
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Oh my...where to begin?
I have already publicly stated that this woman is an embarrassment to the human race, so I wont bother repeating that.

I think there should be mandatory registration of bikes, but not to have a rego plate for easy identification, but for anti theft measures... im pretty sure I have harped on about that before, so no need to cover this again.

I actually wonder what planet this woman actually lives on, what will happen if mandatory insurance is forced on cyclist? the price will sky rocket, it will become un affordable, and just another market for the money grubbing insurance companies to abuse, have a look at the comparative price of car insurance in places where it is not mandatory. Im going back quite a few years ago now, but when I live in Aust, and before 3rd party insurance was compulsory in Victoria, you could get insured for less than $100, but in Queensland or maybe NSW (i think) the same type of insurance was compulsory and $400, apart from that, what about the kids, or the people that ride because they jsut cant afford any other type of transport

The "towards the end" part is just basic journalistic balancing that really needs to stop, this woman has written scathing comments about cyclist in a national newspaper and has clearly shown nothing but malice and hatred to cyclist.

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Leodis [407 posts] 3 years ago
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This women is getting a 11% pay rise as well... I give up.

The worst thing for me is

"“If it means more people cycling, great, especially if it makes it easier for me on the road."

This women should be removed from her safe seat and placed in Richmond, North Yorks to stand next election.

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southseabythesea [150 posts] 3 years ago
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There's no such tax as 'Road Tax', it's vehicle Excise Duty. And she's an MP...WTF!

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matttheaudit [73 posts] 3 years ago
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OMG responding to this lady would be like shooting fish in a barrel. Trouble is, if you try and argue with an idiot they will always drag you down to their level. And then win because of their lifelong experience.

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mooleur [537 posts] 3 years ago
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Hellfire. How do these people remain in office?!

Absolutely beyond stupidity.

She clearly knows nothing about riding a bike nor her constituents who do so. This woman is the embodiment of our failing democracy.

Well...the UK's anyway. Sigh!

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md6 [181 posts] 3 years ago
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Sigh: with morons like this in charge, is it any wonder the country is f**ked.
In my line of work, you need to be classed as 'competent' to perform your role. By that, it is meant that you are knowledgeable, experienced and understand the work you are doing. I doubt many MP's would pass this test if it was rolled out to them, Kate Hoey being a prime example of those who would fail.

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mlimburn [29 posts] 3 years ago
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So vehicle band would be a band A up to 100 g/km, and that costs £0.00

I do have insurance, and do believe for our own protection we should have insurance

But ye again an MP shows they have no idea about cycling  24 24 24 24 24

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andybwhite [250 posts] 3 years ago
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“At the moment if someone does knock down an old lady and ride off no one can trace that person.”

That applies to any pedestrian/pedestrian conflict too. Tell you what, why not chip everyone at birth or barcode their foreheads so they can be traced through CCTV or RFID enabled lampposts? When our politicians are prepared to talk about such levels of control of the minutiae of our live then we're sleepwalking into a police state. Grrrrr  2

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BBB [430 posts] 3 years ago
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"...Walker pointed out to Hoey that speeding or driving through red lights – as she herself did – was common among motorists, and that the potential consequences were much more serious than in the case of a bicycle.

She countered his argument, saying: “But that is a sort of cop out, isn' it? It's like me saying, I'm only driving this little old Mini, why can't just slip through a light as well if there's nothing coming?” ..."

Clearly she's completely stupid.

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johndonnelly [81 posts] 3 years ago
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"Why should I pay a hundred and whatever pounds for my little Mini and they don't"

Wow. Those Minis really aren't very fuel efficient are they. I pay £20 a year for my relatively big car with a more sensible engine choice and likewise would be very happy to pay something proportional to emissions for each bike. Creating at least 50% more emissions for something barely 2/3 the size suggests this is more a statement vehicle.

“By the way I do know that VED is based on size etc of car but the principle is that surely everyone using the road should be licenced and insured.”

No. The principle is that everyone that is a significant threat to other road users should be licenced and insured.

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andybnk [97 posts] 3 years ago
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I also have insurance and will gladly pay "road tax" as soon as I get a fair share of the road, and not nearly knocked off every morning by Highway Maintenance tipper trucks! Oh and the potholes repaired, i.e. the day after hell freezes over in this country  102

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John Stevenson [255 posts] 3 years ago
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"I never see cyclists criticising themselves."

She's clearly never read a bike website comment thread or forum, then.

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William Black [193 posts] 3 years ago
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mlimburn wrote:

But ye again an MP shows they have no idea about cycling  24 24 24 24 24

To be fair Ben Bradshaw MP despite his deplorable politics did answer in person to my complaint and promised to raise it in the commons.

I'm still struggling to remember what it actually was that I was complaining about.

This woman seems to me to be a bit like the self styled Jeremy Clarkson of politics, a lot of hot air trying to make a big name for herself.

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farrell [1950 posts] 3 years ago
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johndonnelly wrote:

"Why should I pay a hundred and whatever pounds for my little Mini and they don't"

Wow. Those Minis really aren't very fuel efficient are they.

She drives a 1999 (T Reg) 1.3 litre Mini Cooper, it's hardly the little-old-granny-mobile she's making it out to be, if it really was one of those then surely it would be VED exempt due to age?

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gw [44 posts] 3 years ago
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This level of stupidity should not be allowed in a position of influence.

Fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose of VED, how roads are financed and accident levels is on a par with the typical 6 fingered knuckle dragger.

Tool.

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farrell [1950 posts] 3 years ago
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andybnk wrote:

Oh and the potholes repaired, i.e. the day after hell freezes over in this country  102

You know that hell defrosting is going to make those pot holes even worse than they originally were, right?

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johndonnelly [81 posts] 3 years ago
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Ah. thanks for looking up the actual vehicle. There's a Jan 1 '74 cut off for exemption so it won't make that yet. If I knew where to look it may be interesting to go back and look at voting record - how did she vote on VED exemption?

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Woodface [12 posts] 3 years ago
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It does make you wonder where this will end; will owners of zero VED cars be somehow persecuted because they do not pay any duty? Hoey is beneath contempt on this issue.

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farrell [1950 posts] 3 years ago
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johndonnelly wrote:

Ah. thanks for looking up the actual vehicle.

Surprisingly easy actually:
T545 JGF
http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/00809/motoring-graphics-2_80...

I preferred her other car though

http://static5.businessinsider.com/image/4fc4de576bb3f72044000004/steven...

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gazza_d [468 posts] 3 years ago
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Cos compulsory registration, licencing, and insurance really works so well for tackling illegal behavior from drivers doesn't it?

what's the crap about cyclists not tackling other cyclists about? When was the last time you saw people in cars tackle other drivers?

Utter utter nonsense from someone who should either know better, or at least know when to STFU

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Alan hall [15 posts] 3 years ago
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Sigh...
I'm ashamed to say she comes from Northern Ireland. Please don't send her back...
Also, this deluded eejit was once the Minister for Sport!!!
With that sort of forward thinking it's time she was retired.

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sean1 [177 posts] 3 years ago
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I have cycling insurance. In fact three times via my Home contents policy, CTC and British Cycling.

However a large proportion of car drivers don't have insurance.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23482547

I already pay VED for my car and my bicycles all fall within the zero rated band.

Hoey is an idiot.

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ronin [280 posts] 3 years ago
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Any MP that says cyclists should pay 'Road Tax' shouldn't be an MP.

Next!

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ChairRDRF [316 posts] 3 years ago
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people like Peter walker should not humiliate themselves by talking to specimens like this person - unless it is simply to reveal them as the **********s they are.
I think we need to be more forceful on these issues as follows:

1. "Tax". It's not good enough to explain what VED is - we have to explain that the financial cost of motoring to the user is far too low , needs to increase - certainly with regard to the cost of cycling to the user. If you can't increase fuel - the cost of motoring has declined while everything else like housing, food etc. has gone up -t hen you can start paying cyclists.

2. Number plates. As one commenter has pointed out - that doesn't stop motorists from getting away with it.

Finally, a word to the segregationists - note how specimens like Hoey like segregation because they can get us out of what they think of as "their way".

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Simmo72 [617 posts] 3 years ago
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What a moron.
how much Co2 does a bike produce? - close to 0 if you take the lifespan v manufacturer, shipping, repairs etc. based on the government arse of a vehicle license regs (not road tax you deranged bint) that would put a bike under 99 Co2 making it exempt.

It would be fairer to get rid of banding by Co2 (which is complete rubbish as its an artificial figure produced under controlled tests) and place the tax on petrol. the more you use, the more you pay, which for a cyclist is ..... 0 but at least we can clobber the people driving around in their silly 4x4's.

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antonio [1134 posts] 3 years ago
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Just another MP out of touch with the real world.

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Castelli Cafe [5 posts] 3 years ago
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I wish that one of the cycling bodies spent some serious money advertising the fact that there is no such thing as *ROAD TAX* that a tax disc is actually a VED disc and it is for emissions. They could then point that big 4x4 parked outside the school pay higher VED due to the fact they are poisoning the very children the parents bought the cars to protect? And equally point out that low emission cars, electric cars and cyclist don't pay VED because they are clean and not contributing to air pollution. Further more they could advertise the fact that money for road building and repair (as poor as it is) is collected from both local taxation and by general tax and that money from VED does not go into highway infrastructure directly.
Maybe if every motorist realised this, including the not so honourably Hoey then sharing the roads would be far less contentious ?

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ChairRDRF [316 posts] 3 years ago
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Actually, these comments are revealing of commonly held prejudices which are actually dangerous they are not just another MP out of touch with the real world.

I am just thinking about how to campaign on this.

Maybe write to the Labour Transport and Road Safety shadow Ministers asking them to set Hoey straight on (a) Tax - preferably showing how cost-benefit analyses show that the costs of motoring to society and the environment far outweigh the taxes that motorists pay compared to cyclists and (b) the importance of number plates.

Also, Hoey has been part of the Save Herne Hill campaign (cyclists are Ok if not on the road) and make it clear to the organisers of SHH that she is opposed to people on bikes the moment they get out of the Herne Hill grounds. they should cut off all contact with her.

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aslongasicycle [385 posts] 3 years ago
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This conversation with UKIP candidate Peter Burkinshaw could pretty much be cut and pasted in for Kate Hoey. Sadly.

Be my guest.

http://www.vulpine.cc/Blog/commuting/preaching-to-the-unconvertable

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Ush [755 posts] 3 years ago
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Quote:

“I would love to see cycling separated, because I think it would help everybody,” she explained. “If it means more people cycling, great, especially if it makes it easier for me on the road. You're never going to get it everywhere, but it's going to have to happen because there's so many more people cycling.”

Everyone ready to get into the bike ghetto? Make sure you're wearing your identifying marks of high-vis motley and special headgear too.

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